----- Original Message -----
From: "PaulMmn" <PaulMmn@ix.netcom.com>

> Not to turn this into a C.O.L.D. War, but...

> >Brad: Our LaserVault system does something similar, but we give
the
> >user explicit selection capabilities thru command line or cl on
the
> >host, it seems silly to download something and erase it.
>
> MetaFile does let you select spool files based on the criteria
you'd
> see on a WRKOUTQ screen.

Oh, I misunderstood you. I thought you said there was no software
ont he AS/400.

> Although it may take longer to add to and maintain a full text
index,
> I like the fact that we don't have to decide in advance what the
> users can search for.  If needs change, the index does not have
to be
> regenerated.  MetaFile does allow you to identify fields by
name, but
> we haven't needed that kind of flexibility.  [We could then do
> searches such as "Invoice# > 135423 and Invoice$ > 10000.00"]

I assume you can limit the search by date, since once you have ten
or
twenty gigabytes of data you would get far too many hits to be
helpful.

> >Brad: Metafile is a good product, one of the best on the
AS/400. I
> >didn't realize they weren't putting software on the AS/400.

I note here that you have clarified this and said that they are
putting software on the AS/400.

> The
> >advantage of having software on the AS/400 is the ability to
> >control the reports you download, the ability to append and
name
> >them, the ability to control the PC side from the AS/400 side
and
> >report back errors to the operator, and the ability to print
back
> >to the AS/400.
>
> MetaFile identifies the downloaded spool files by comparing the
data
> received to a template [ie certain words or phrases (ie "PAGE
NUMBER"
> and  "INVOICE"  or  "PACKING LIST") appear in a fixed place in
the
> document.]  They are grouped with like documents and identified
by
> date.

Our experience is that this works for some reports, but not all
reports. And sometimes two different reports have similar layout,
but are from different departments, or one is monthly and one
weekly, etc. We also have that autonaming feature, but most of our
users prefer to define the report on the AS/400 side.

They use the autonaming feature more often on reports that come
from OS/390, Unix or NT to go into the common archive.

> Granted, there is no feedback and error monitoring on the AS/400
> side.  But we really haven't needed it; the only problem we've
had is
> when the password on the AS/400 gets changed and the download
program
> can't sign on.  (:

Archive gets full (less likely these days with giant disk drives)
indexing program belches, etc. We like the positive control of
writing the results back to the AS/400 to be included in the logs.

> I've been meaning to upgrade our system to the latest and
greatest
> version of MetaFile.  However, the existing program works so
well,
> there's been no pressure to upgrade.  We do have a number of
> applications that would benefit from archiving of spool files
(which
> are currently being burned to CDs via an outside service).

Now I am confused. You have a COLD system but you are still
writing spool files to CDs using an outside service?

As I said before, I do think Metafile is a good system, obviously
I prefer ours. Any AS/400 site is better off with SOME report
management system than NO report management system. You can't
really audit an accounting system without COLD or saving every
report that you make on paper, and reports get lost. It isn't
enough to be able to regenerate an invoice, you need a copy of it
at the point it was first generated. Or any other report that has
a bearing on the financial situation of a company.

Regenerated reports are fine for auditing if you assume there are
no errors in the software or operations, but if you assume that
there is no purpose in doing an audit. And of course, six or seven
years of history files slow down your system and particularly your
backup.

And if your software or forms change, and you go back to
regenerate an old statement or document, you may have some
problems.

Brad Jensen
www.elstore.com




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